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What is ‘Development Matters’ in Early Years?

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 28th of May 2021 Hadyn Luke 28/05/2021


What is ‘Development Matters’ in Early Years?

Development Matters Non-Statutory Curriculum Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage is a free document available to download from Early Education. It supports the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework.

First published in 2012, the document was reviewed in 2020 and a new, updated version was published on 3 September 2020.

Who is Development Matters for?

The guidance is designed to help Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) practitioners provide quality education and give children the best start in life, from birth to the age of five.

EYFS practitioners include childminders and those working in nurseries, receptions and other early childhood educational settings.

What does Development Matters cover?

The guidance covers several Areas of Learning and Development. These include reading and maths, but also children’s general development pathway and education journey. It also has guidance to support effective assessment of learning.

Development Matters is underpinned by four themes:

  1. A Unique Child
  2. Positive Relationships
  3. Enabling Environments
  4. Learning and Development

Formative assessment allows practitioners to observe children, assess their development, look at ways to support them in their learning and development, and extend their learning.

Development Matters also provides detailed information about the five main areas of child development in the EYFS, which are:

  1. Cognitive – problem solving and mental skills
  2. Social and Emotional – how children interact with others, manging and expressing feelings
  3. Speech and Language – communication, spoken and written language
  4. Fine Motor Skills – interacting with and using objects
  5. Gross Motor Skills – physical movement from walking to sports

What are ELGs and GLD?

The Early Learning Goals (ELGs) are designed to assess and track how children progress through the Early Years Foundation Stage before they move on to Key Stage 1, with the understanding that individuals will develop at different rates. The goals are:

  1. Communication and Language Development (CLD)
  2. Physical Development (PD)
  3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
  4. Literacy (L)
  5. Mathematics (M)
  6. Understanding the World (UtW)
  7. Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

Good Level of Development or GLD is a way of measuring how a child is progressing with their Early Learning Goals. Their potential will then be registered in their EYFS Profile as Emerging, Expected or Exceeding.

Development Matters sets out clear information and guidance on the Early Learning Goals and how progression is measured.

How can Development Matters be used by Early Years Practitioners?

Those working with children will find useful and detailed information, guidance and planning tools in Development Matters. This includes help to plan lessons, activities and provisions, as well as guidance on making summative assessments of each child.

Who is behind Development Matters?

Development Matters was produced by Early Education, supported by the Department for Education. Early Education: The British Association for Early Childhood Education describes itself as “a national charity supporting early years practitioners with training, resources and professional networks, and campaigning for quality education for the youngest children”.

Why is Development Matters important?

It’s important because it allows Early Years practitioners to tailor their teaching and support to the needs, abilities and pace of each child, to ensure that they learn and develop as they should.

Although Development Matters is non-statutory, Early Years practitioners will find the framework useful as it provides clear and easy-to-use guidance in the form of a core syllabus that brings together the main topics of the Early Learning Goals.

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